Haze's strangers: No.159: Bob the Victorian Butler

We visited 'Twelve Days of Christmas' at Uppark, a National Trust property. I decided, before we started out, not to try for a stranger portrait as we also had invited a good friend to come with us so I did not want to be intrusive stopping to take photos and a story. (The best laid plans...)

Most of the rooms which had been decorated were in the former servants' quarters, reached via the underground tunnel, which was a bit dark, dank and with some surface water on the floor.

The dining room was on the ground floor and the first to be viewed. We followed a series of rooms through the servants' quarters: I specially liked the Ten Lords a Leaping over barrels of beer and ale.

When we came to the housekeeper's parlour, my eye was first caught by the display on the tea table. And then I saw the butler.

I don't remember if he or I spoke first but we had a little general conversation and then I heard myself asking if he would agree to have his portrait taken. He was immediately amenable, saying that he often received such requests. We introduced ourselves. Meet Bob.

I explained my strangers' portrait project to Bob and added it would be good to have a little information about him to accompany the photo. He proposed to give that in his role as the Victorian butler.

We spoke with regard to Bob's need to attend to other visitors and he told me that, as a Victorian butler, he was the most senior person in the domestic hierarchy, being responsible for the silver, the wine, and the well-being of the servants. The Uppark poster for Christmas the previous year had featured his photo, and he also volunteers at another property, Petworth.

When I asked about Bob's interests in 'real life', he just said, with a little smile, that he likes volunteering for the National Trust. But he did go on to speak about his passion for art and for history, telling me that he gives talks on both subjects to various organisations, all proceeds being donated to The Samaritans.

I thanked Bob; he accepted my offer of photos and I gave him a card to contact me. Thanks to my companions too for indulging me in my diversion.....


You do get tomeet some amazing people! He certainly looks like a great butler. Lovely shot and story 😊
posted December 6th, 2018  
Another lovely story Hazel. Uppark sounds fascinating, and so does Bob! Nice image too.
posted December 6th, 2018  
Very nice capture and narrative Hazel really like the old school tones, suites the period look very well:)
posted December 6th, 2018  
He looks a lovely character!
posted December 6th, 2018  
What an interesting chap. He looks like a perfect butler
posted December 6th, 2018  
bep
A lovely story and photo (I prefer the B&W).
posted December 6th, 2018  
Great photo and story :)
posted December 6th, 2018  
Good one....suitable edit...fav.
posted December 6th, 2018  
A lovely stranger portrait I prefer the B/W but a great story and lovely to hear Bob volunteers for the National trust and helps fundraise for the Samaritans a very worthy cause.
posted December 6th, 2018  
Prefer the b & w version Hazel!
posted December 6th, 2018  
Wow 159 strangers! I managed 1!
Lovely photo and a lovely story too.
posted December 6th, 2018  
It’s a lovely portrait and he’s really photogenic Fav. He sounds like a really nice man and it’s great that he donates to such a worthy cause
posted December 6th, 2018  
Cool portrait.
posted December 7th, 2018  
He certainly looks like a great butler. Great portrait and story. Lovely tones.
posted December 7th, 2018  
Brilliant image of the Butler who seems a very community minded man.
posted December 7th, 2018  
He certainly takes on the role well in this photo. Great commentary as always.
posted December 8th, 2018  
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